The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis of immense proportions. The virus respects no borders and does not discriminate between continents. It is uncertain when the world will emerge from the crisis. What is certain is the need for immediate, coordinated and resolute action.
Africa is particularly vulnerable. Many health systems are unable to cope and most governments are in no position to offer financial support to businesses and individuals.
Such a global pandemic can only be combated through coordinated multilateral action. The World Health Organisation, as the primary global agency responsible for public health and as the partner of choice for national health institutions in Africa and other developing countries, needs support and resources now more acutely than ever.
We are deeply concerned about the adverse economic impact of the pandemic. We support the call for collective international action by a number of European and African leaders published in the Financial Times on 14th April and welcome the helpful steps taken by G20 Finance Ministers, IMF, World Bank and others to mobilize with Africa to fight COVID-19.
Non-governmental organisations and foundations that have targeted assistance programmes for Africa and other developing countries deserve strong continuing support, as do regional and national community-based civil society organisations as well as African developing countries with good healthcare systems that can share experience and good practice.
In is imperative to provide basic necessities where they are needed most – Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators and testing kits. Security forces can play an important role in providing logistical support to civilian administrations. Key scientific and clinical knowledge should be widely shared through the WHO and other international, national and non-official channels. When a vaccine emerges, it should be made available to all at affordable prices.
The Global Leadership Foundation works on invitation to support national leaders in key areas of governance. We remain ready to offer our considerable pool of knowledge and experience in public policy development and crisis management to those leaders who feel they can benefit from it.
Let us all work together to mitigate an unprecedented humanitarian disaster and chart a way forward.
24 April 2020
Note to Editors
The Global Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation founded by former South African President FW de Klerk in 2004, which brings together 44 retired leaders from across the globe. It offers advice on a confidential basis, on request, to current national leaders. Other former African Heads of State and Government who are among the Members of the Foundation are John Kufuor of Ghana, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Cassam Uteem from Mauritius. For further information please visit www.g-l-f.org.